Eurolanche is the first European Fan Club of the Colorado Avalanche, which was established on August 12, 2007. Its founder and president David Puchovsky had planned to establish a group of fans from the “Old Continent” a long time ago. European fans have always had a more difficult situation compared to American fans, and therefore asking for some mutual help was an ideal solution. Eurolanche in the beginning was just a simple web page. Its target was to unite fans, exchange contacts and ideas and information. After some time it was obvious that they deserved better services and help. In March of 2008, with financial help of a few members, Eurolanche started as a professional web with an independent domain.
2008/09: The Road to Denver
The new web gave Eurolanche a new face, and a fresh new start. Eurolanche became a precedent, something unique, and something that was missing in the hockey market. Members could write articles about the Colorado Avalanche in their mother tongue, engage in competitions; buy souvenirs in the e-shop, and many others. The most important feature of the web would be the organization and meetings of members. Already a few weeks later in the summer of 2008, the Fan Club organized a meeting with Peter Budaj. It was just a small step in its modern history.
The idea of organizing trips for fans to Denver was born in the head of the current president a few months before the Fan Club was established. Eurolanche have further supported this idea and made it come true. Two trips with attendance of six Eurolanche members were organized in January and February 2009. Free tickets given by club management as well as VIP access to every Avalanche player was the biggest advantage.
2008/09, the second season in history of Eurolanche, and the first with a professional web page was concluded by a mutual meeting of members in Martin, Slovakia.
2009/10: The third season
The 2009/10 season turned out to be essential for Eurolanche. Besides the successful organization of the third Eurolanche Invasion with participation of the record-breaking six members, the new website was finally launched after countless postponements. It offered many new benefits, including a broad range of interactive features. These achievements have lead to a greater responsibility and new goals. The meeting with Paul Stastny in Slovakia was a part of that successful year.
2010/11: Turnaround and changes
The 4th season of the Eurolanche Fan Club wasn’t successful at all for Colorado Avalanche. The franchise recorded its worst season ending result in history. It seemed like the bad efforts from players had a similar affect on running the Fan Club. At the end of the unsuccessful 2010/2011 season, the website was innovated again. The upgraded website has become the most successful fan website ever.
A period between 2010 and 2011 was very tough for both parties. Alongside the stagnation and the fall of the franchise’s name on the market, Eurolanche was unsuccessful to make a trip back to Colorado for the first time in its history. Luckily the big meeting of members was organized in Slovakia.
2011/12: The success of new era
The first season with the re-designed website had become very successful in Eurolanche history. The daily unique number of visitors had risen up significantly. More and more fans joined Eurolanche and some of them have started to write their own stories in different languages.
The new era in Eurolanche also brought the fourth trip of members to Denver. Three members had a chance to visit another series of Avalanche home games. Meetings with players and the support of the team organization were also available again. Not only did Invasion IV have the highest quality coverage, the Avs news was also on a higher level. Dozens of stories were published weekly on the website.
The successful season also included several contests for hockey memorabilia and unforgettable moments during the Avalanche games. There has never been a reason why fans from all around the world should not join Eurolanche. The year was ended by the meeting of members from four countries organized in Bratislava, Slovakia for the first time.
2012/13: The lockout and shortened season
Eurolanche editors have successfully started exclusive coverage thanks to interviews with the former and current players of the Colorado Avalanche before the start and during the season of 2012/13. The interviews included; Ian Laperriere, Gabriel Landeskog, Semyon Varlamov, Ryan O’Reilly as well as others. The Eurolanche website had reached the credit it deserved, and was sourced or quoted by several mainstream websites such as The Hockey News, NBC Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Denver Post. To sum it up, in spite of the NHL lockout for a few months, the Eurolanche enjoyed the most successful part in that time.
The summer meeting with Milan Hejduk, Jan Hejda, and David Koci on the next day will always be remembered by Eurolanche members who came to the Czech Republic.
When the NHL season had finally started, four members from Slovakia and Czech Republic organized the fifth trip to Denver, Colorado called Eurolanche Invasion V. Thanks to its schedule it became one of the most remarkable Invasions in the history. The participants of the trip visited a record-breaking number of games - seven, and one of them was played in Minnesota. Members traveled to the first Invasion away game that took 14 hours to get to in a car.
2013/14: The most read website
The Colorado Avalanche entered the 2013/14 season with a new coach and leader. The changes have had a major impact on the team, and Eurolanche continued on its message. Thanks to dozens of exclusive interviews that was firstly published in the previous season, the official Fan Club’s website had become the most read fan website in the region.
The successful part of the year included a traditional summer meeting with Jan Hejda, and the organization of Eurolanche Invasion VI. A record number of six members visited seven Avalanche home games and experienced unforgettable moments.
Eurolanche was regularly in the center of media attention in that time. The biggest European magazine about the NHL, Pro Hockey (famous reporter Kevin Allen writes stories there), published a recap of the Invasion VI like it was a year ago after Invasion V. The president of Eurolanche appeared on the Slovak sport TV in the talk show. One of the most popular Slovak weekly magazine ´Zivot´ (Life) published a story of the Fan Club. The biggest success was a publishing of the story at the official Colorado Avalanche website. The number of registered memebers and fans on the social networks were growing.
2014/15: For the first time in the Denver Post
The Fan Club continued its established trend during the second season after the New Era began in Denver. As the season concluded, the Fan Club remained the most popular fan website, with regularly published exclusive interviews and content, which quoted by notable foreign media. Czech fans highly appreciated interviews with Milan Hejduk, who ended his career several months prior to the interview, and Pavel Zacha, one of the most talented Czech youngsters, who was one of the candidates to be drafted by the Avalanche.
The season’s highlight was once again the trip to Colorado, Eurolanche Invasion VII. A then record-high 8 members from two different countries were part of the Fan Club’s seventh trip overseas. Together, they attended six Avalanche games at the Pepsi Center and ensured that the trip became the most memorable Invasion yet, as they drove more than 3000 kilometers (1900 miles) in Colorado alone and two groups of the participating members visited San Francisco and Chicago.
The season’s biggest achievement was definitely an article about the Fan Club and its seventh trip published in the Denver Post. It was the first time ever Eurolanche appared in the printed version of Colorado’s biggest newspaper. The 2014/15 season also saw the fan club surpassing the 500 member mark.
2015/16: A season of big achievements
The ninth season of the Eurolanche Fan Club was a rather successful one. One could even go as far as to say that it was the most successful season of the Fan Club’s entire existence. A plethora of the biggest media in hockey published reports about the Fan Club – Eurolanche’s story was published on an entire page of the printed version of The Hockey News, while also being published on its website later on. The Fan Club’s eight trip to the US, the Eurolanche Invasion VIII, got coverage on NHL.com, the official website of the NHL. The trip’s participants also appeared in NBC Sports’ live broadcast during the outdoor game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Detroit Red Wings, as a number of Eurolanche members got interviewed by hockey icon Jeremy Roenick.
A record number of Eurolanche members were part of Invasion VIII – 12 members from five different European countries. They attended a total of seven Avalanche games, including the outdoor game attended by more than 50,000 fans at Coors Field, the home of the MLB’s Colorado Rockies. They’ve also witnessed the Alumni game and met with a vast number of the participating veterans. The most memorable meeting was the one with Peter Forsberg. A trip to Las Vegas was also part of the Fan Club’s eight journey overseas, which underlined the Invasion’s success even more. Other Fan Club members could follow the Invasion via live videos on the Periscope.
On the occasion of the Stadium Series game, the Fan Club launched a special sister-site – StadiumSeries2016.Eurolanche.com, where they published everything concerning the event in a number of different languages. Thanks to the launch of the aforementioned website, the Fan Club published the most articles during a single season in its history – more than 1550 articles in total, which equals a daily average of five published articles.
Also part of the successful 2015/16 season were a meeting with Marian Hossa at his home during his day with the Stanley Cup, a meeting of Invasion VIII participants in Prague, additional media coverage of the Fan Club in both Europe and North America, a variety of contests for Fan Club members, as the number of Eurolanche members surpassed the 600 mark. The Fan Club also published a number of exclusive interviews, the most memorable one being an interview with Mikko Rantanen immediately after the 2015 Draft, as Eurolanche was the first media outlet to publish an interview with Colorado’s first pick in 2015.
2016/17: Anniversary season
The tenth anniversary season of the Eurolanche Fan Club will enter its history as the busiest season yet in terms of organized events and activities. In summer 2016, Fan Club members and future Eurolanche Invasion IX participants met in Brno, Czech Republic at the eighth member meeting, which began on the day of the Fan Club’s 9th birthday. The goal of the meeting was to present events planned for the upcoming season, Eurolanche’s anniversary logo, as well as to discuss the planned trip, its schedule and rules.
The Eurolanche Invasion IX was one of the very best installments of the Eurolanche Invasion projects yet and the sixth in row since the 2011-12 season. Ten Fan Club members from Slovakia, the Czech Republic and, for the very first time, from Hungary and Finland too part in the trip. The group attended seven Colorado Avalanche games, two of them being away games in Anaheim and San Jose. It was the first time Invasion participants attended two away games during a single Invasion. Aside from trips in Colorado, the group visited the entire West Coast of the US, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Mexico. Numerous media, including the CBS4 TV channel, the ProHockey magazine and the Denver Post newspaper, informed about the Fan Club’s ninth Invasion.
During the Fan Club’s 10th season, Eurolanche members met with three former Avalanche players in Europe. First, they met with Steven Reinprecht in Nurnberg, then with Uwe Krupp in Berlin and David Aebischer in Switzerland. A tour of the city was part of each meeting. During the last trip, its participants drove 2,428 kilometers (1,508 miles) in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France and Lichtenstein in a span of four days.
The Fan Club launched two sister websites during the 2016-17 season. At Story.Eurolanche.com, the Fan Club assembled all its interesting articles, infographics, facts and photos related to its tenth anniversary. The GlobalSeries.Eurolanche.com was gradually updated by the editing staff with articles on the occasion of the two games between the Avalanche and the Ottawa Senators in Sweden in November 2017. On the occasion of these games, Eurolanche prepared an event dubbed the ‘Eurolanche Raid 2017’. A record-setting 52 members from 10 countries and two continents signed up for the Fan Club’s trip to Stokholm.
Coverage on Eurolanche.com included 14 exclusive interviews, for example with the 2017 first overall draft pick Nico Hischier, or talented youngsters A.J. Greer, J.T. Compher, Tyson Jost and Mikko Rantanen.
2017/18: Most own events and book publishing
Eurolanche celebrated its 10 years in existence on August 12, 2017, in the High Tatras in Slovakia. 18 members from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Finland attended the anniversary meeting, the then-biggest Fan Club meeting, and enjoyed a schedule full of sport and tourism during the course of four days, while also receiving numbers of souvenirs and autographs, as well as listening to congratulations and “birthday” wishes from Avalanche players and alumni, including Joe Sakic.
In November 2017, the Fan Club organized the biggest event in its history under the name Eurolanche Raid 2017. Officially, a total of 58 Eurolanche members traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, for the Avalanche’s double-header against the Ottawa Senators. On this occasion, NHL.com called Eurolanche “the world’s largest Colorado Avalanche fan club”.
A 200-page book in both English and Slovak was published on the occasion of Eurolanche’s 10th anniversary, detailing the Fan Club’s history and all of its events. The Book.Eurolanche.com and Kniha.Eurolanche.com websites were created in order to support and coordinate the sale of the Eurolanche book.
The work and activities of the Fan Club were also praised by John Hickenlooper, the Governor of Colorado, and by Denver mayor Michael Hancock, who both sent congratulatory letter to Eurolanche on the occasions of its 10th anniversary.
In February and March 2018, the Fan Club organized its tenth trip to the US under the name Eurolanche Invasion X, with five Eurolanche members participating in the Fan Club’s latest overseas adventure. The schedule, one of the busiest and most diverse in the project’s history, included five Avalanche home games and two away games in Chicago and Columbus.
Two more member meetings were organized during the 2017-18 season, both taking place in Brno, Czech Republic.
The eleventh season saw Eurolanche organize its most own events during a single season, which was also connected with the creation of a premium group of Eurolanche members under the moniker Yeti Ultras. The Fan Club also launched its official Instagram account.
A number of media outlets, including Swedish sports newspapers, NHL.com, the Avalanche’s official website, as well as Colorado’s regional FOX 21 channels published and aired reports about the Fan Club and its activities during the 2017-18 season.
2018/19: Record in the number of attended games
For the very first time in Invasion history, the participants of the Eurolanche Invasion XI attended a total of eight Colorado Avalanche games, two of them being away games in Chicago and, for the very first time, in Nashville. A total of 12 Eurolanche members took part in Invasion XI, tying the record for most Invasion participants with 12 and setting a new record for represented countries with six.
Fan Club members also visited Normandy, where they spent several days during the playoffs thanks to Jake Schroeder and Denver PAL. Speaking of playoffs, the Avs managed to make the postseason twice in row for the first time since Eurolanche’s inception.
Eurolanche’s twelfth season also included two member meetings in Prague and Bratislava respectively, as well as the Fan Club’s second meeting with Uwe Krupp (whom they met in Prague after meeting him in Berlin for the first time) and the first meeting with Sven Andrighetto.
The Yeti Ultras, the Fan Club’s group for most active members, received a new logo.
The registration for the Eurolanche Invasion XII began prior to Invasion XI during the time when the NHL officially announced an outdoor game in Colorado scheduled for 2020.
2019/20: A season marked by the pandemic
For Eurolanche, number 13 was a blessing in disguise. While the Fan Club’s 13th season in existence saw the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the subsequent temporary pause of the NHL season soon thereafter and unprecedented changes to our everyday lives, Eurolanche managed to do more than enough up until the unplanned halt of NHL action.
During the 2019/20 season, Eurolanche organized the Eurolanche Invasion XII, the Fan Club’s twelfth trip to Colorado, which included the project’s tightest packed schedule to date and encompassed trips all across the southern US and beyond – the trip included the Colorado Avalanche’s second-ever outdoor game, a road trip along on the route Los Angeles – Las Vegas – Grand Canyon –Colorado, a short trip to Mexico and countless new experiences highlighted by the Avs’ 5-2-1 record, which equaled the best record set during the previous Invasion. Invasion XII participants also appeared on NBC Sports’ live broadcast, attended the Avs outdoor practice and met with Joe Sakic.
Prior to Invasion XII, Eurolanche organized its 13th member meeting in Brno, Czech Republic, which included a watch party of two Avalanche games.
The Eurolanche League betting competition continued with its 10th edition, with the competition’s anniversary being the reason why five best contestants were rewarded with Avs merchandise instead of the three best as was the case during previous editions.
Moreover, Denver’s FOX 31 channel visited Europe in order to interview Eurolanche President David Puchovsky in his hometown of Bratislava.
The number of registered Eurolanche members reached 1000. The Fan Club also created a new sister website, StadiumSeries2020.Eurolanche.com, which served as the hub for all important news regarding this event. As part of its Avalanche coverage, the Fan Club was the first to report the Avs’ plans of playing in Prague in the near future.
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Eurolanche began its collaboration with Colorado Europe on a video blog series about up-to-date Avalanche news.
2020/21: The pandemic
When the participants of the Eurolanche Invasion XII returned back home in February 2020, none of them had even the slightest idea what would happen in the upcoming two weeks. The world as we knew it shut down, the pandemic engulfed almost every single country around the globe. Travel restrictions and strict preventive measures meant that during the 2020/21 season, Eurolanche wasn’t able to organize a single in-person event for its members for the very first time in its history.
After nine consecutive editions, the Eurolanche Invasion project also couldn’t be organized. The last time Eurolanche didn’t make it to Denver was way back during the 2010/11 season. Sadly, the efforts of several Fan Club members to attend the playoffs was thwarted by the on-going US travel ban for Europeans.
During the season, the Fan Club used the time provided by the pandemic to prepare the “Colorado Avalanche International” project, with numerous Fan Club members taking part in it via a survey. The project proposal was presented directly to the Colorado Avalanche. More information will be available once the situation regarding the pandemic will improve and the world returns back to normal.